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US SEC Delays Decision on Grayscale, Bitwise Bitcoin ETF Options

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has delayed its ruling on the approval of options trading for Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) proposed by Grayscale and Bitwise.

In its recent filing on April 8, the SEC announced its decision to extend the review period for the applications submitted by Grayscale and Bitwise regarding the trading of Bitcoin ETF options.

SEC Designates May 29 as New Decision Date

“The Commission deems it necessary to extend the timeframe to deliberate on the proposed rule change to ensure adequate consideration,” states the filing.

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act, the SEC has stipulated May 29, 2024, as the deadline for either approval, disapproval, or initiation of proceedings for potential disapproval of the applications.

On January 10, a total of 11 Bitcoin ETFs were greenlit as the inaugural cohort of their kind, being listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Nasdaq. These financial instruments have broadened cryptocurrency accessibility for the general public, introducing fresh investment avenues.

Deferred Applications Filed by Cboe and Nasdaq

In March 2024, the SEC initially deferred its decision regarding the authorization of options trading for Bitcoin ETFs. This postponement impacted proposals from both Cboe Exchange Inc. and Nasdaq ISE, which aimed to introduce options tied to ETFs holding Bitcoin and BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust, respectively.

The SEC’s announcements provided detailed accounts of these delays, reflecting the regulator’s cautious stance towards overseeing the proliferation of crypto-related financial products.

These proposals sought to introduce derivatives that traders could utilize for speculating on future gains or hedging against potential losses.

Through payment of a premium, investors could engage in contracts with counterparties, typically facilitated by exchanges. These contracts would establish a future date at which the investor holds the right, though not the obligation, to purchase a specified asset, such as spot Bitcoin ETFs, at a predetermined price, irrespective of the prevailing market price at that juncture.

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Cryptocurrency is essentially virtual money that operates in a decentralized manner, not through a bank but directly on multiple independent computers.

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